to Oct 19


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Opening Reception // September 13, 7PM - 11PM at TRUCK

Artist Talk // September 14, 1PM at TRUCK

Through the use of various printing techniques that incorporate both found imagery + text, the body of work in Mehmoon reflects upon the events, ideas and trends that have shaped Iran over the last 40 years.

In concert with Mehmoon we are pleased to screen acclaimed Iranian documentary short film, The House Is Black, directed by Forough Farrokhzad. This film will screen on loop in our Parkade new media gallery for the duration of the exhibition, and is generously sponsored by Facets, a nonprofit based in Chicago that connects people to independent ideas through transformative film experiences.

Can we make ourselves light enough (to levitate)?

 Written by asmaa al-issa

To many of us who have been displaced, or whose parents have been displaced, our knowledge about the places we were born and where we no longer live is collected from stories, traditions, news articles, history books, and images. We develop feelings to these distant places and cultures—feelings informed by our families’ experiences of oppression, war, famine. The weight of this trauma is internalised within us and carried in various ways; mentally or physically, consciously or subconsciously.


For years they resisted the idea of leaving and even turned down opportunities to leave. They had high hopes for their country; that one day the war and the sanctions and the fear would end. Until one morning, they received a letter which made it clear that staying was no longer an option.


Eventually the question arises, what do we do with this weight? As artists, we have a responsibility—to our communities, societies, history, and future generations—to respond by asking questions, addressing relevant issues, and examining details that are otherwise overlooked. We develop ways to respond to the weight of the life we observe and experience. We develop ways to levitate.


They were fortunate to know people who knew people who could help them forge papers, arrange a ride, offer them a place to stay. The house was the coldest it had ever been. Furniture, plates, clothes, toys, and books were all left in place; as if they were only leaving for vacation. A family of six travelling light with two heavy suitcases.


In the section on lightness in Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Italo Calvino identifies literature (or, in this context, art practice) to be “the search for lightness as a reaction to the weight of living.” [1] Searching for lightness within a heavy lived experience requires a necessary detachment. Displaced families are in a position of detachment from their places of origin. They live in a safe environment and in a different context, yet are still connected to the intensities of distant places—through relatives, memories, scars.


As artists, we take on a similar perspective by displacing ourselves from the subject; this point of view may be a privileged one but it allows for a different, equally valid, experience of the world. The reaction of artists through light gestures does not deny weight, but allows for a response to lived experiences by hovering above, distant enough to oversee, feel, and confront.  


A family of six in a two-bedroom apartment. Four years spent waiting for a phone call. Two months to pack and move again, this time by airplane. They arrive in a cold country, greeted by spring. The ground is brown and the trees are bare.


As a way of addressing past and current violences in Iran from a displaced point of view, the works in Mehmoon reappropriate weighted imagery and language. In responding with light gestures such as layering (stickers on surfaces), hovering (silk over printed text), and illuminating (with neon light), the heaviness is offset. This allows for the creation of a momentary entry point; the weight of horrific lived realities is made accessible for both the artist and the viewer.  Light gestures are embedded throughout the works, such as the bits of pop-culture references (brands, cartoons, magazines, etc.) that seem to contrast the images they overlay; references from a world both familiar and foreign. This speaks to the complexity of relating to subject matter from a physical and cultural distance. It also provides an entry point for the Western audience to engage with an unfamiliar weight.


They work many jobs. Security, sales, daycare, cleaning company, plastic factory, grocery store. At school their children are enrolled in ESL classes. At home, they speak their mother tongue in their mother’s accent. They are constantly asked about the country they came from: what kind of food do you eat?; do you celebrate christmas?; how do you say ___ in your language?


As viewers, we have a responsibility to engage with the weight we are given; to think about it and respond to it. Through different mediums, the weight is transferred from artist to viewer, making it possible to address issues that affect our communities, societies, and future generations. The cycle of creating and responding is a continuous and collective one.


Years have passed and still no one has returned.


Lightness is a pursuit. An aspiration. A technique. Although it may not offer resolution, it does offer a vantage point to analyse which uncertain steps to take, in which uncertain direction. The best we can do is to allow ourselves to move lightly through this heavy world.




[1] Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium, trans. Geoffrey Brock (Boston: Mariner Books, 2016), 32.

on the title of this show. 

i have been thinking about my tongue. the weight of my tongue.
the lightness of my tongue.
of how it behaves.

of how it moves.
of how it remains reposed between these neighbouring lips.
how it enunciates.
how when a word rolls off the tip
certain parts are stressed
while other parts are left entirely alone.
did i get it right?
am i saying it right?
questions i seem to always ask myself.
is it the layers of language that accentuate this level of doubt.
i mean displacement brings about a plurality that cannot be undermined. and the tongue is an unforgiving thing.
it twists and turns and tangles up within itself.
sometimes without reason.
sometimes without want.
sometimes because of how far it is being stretched.
it’s perilous desire of finding meaning from the in between.
my tongue the meh.
the summer haze that is amiss.
aya metoonam dar meh shekofteh misham?
can i bloom in fog?
can i live with layers of mist?
my tongue the moon.
the constant that hides as day arrives too soon.
my tongue the shelter.
that lives with violent unrest.
speak easy.
let it all be known.
oh how i wish i could.
but my tongue is my guest.
and i like it the uninvited mehmoon.

Written by Reza Rezaï

Reza Rezaï is a Winnipeg based artist/writer/educator.

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to Jul 20



Exhibition // June 19th, 2019 - July 20th, 2019.

Meshes is an immersive multimedia installation that explores the spaces between senses. The labyrinthian layout uses manipulated light and sound to weave our threads of perception into an augmented space – one that betrays the balance between sensorial clarity and incoherence.

Anna Semenoff is a Calgary based artist; she recently received her degree at the Alberta University of the Arts in Sculpture. Interested in spaces – her installations consider a phenomenological framework – the relationships between things and people regarding our placements.

Jordan Schinkel is a visual artist in Canada exploring processes which reconcile and reconstruct fragmented moments, actions, and images.

Sled Island Visual Art is curated by Areum Kim and Toni Cormier and presented in partnership with Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.

Since 2007, Sled Island's thoughtful, eclectic programming and independent spirit have produced a one-of-a-kind festival experience. Each June, the five-day music and arts festival brings together a community of more than 250 bands, comedy, film and art as well as over 30,000 attendees in more than 30 venues, earning rave reviews from attendees, artists and media across the globe.

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to Jul 21



Opening Reception // Friday, June 7, 2019 from 7:00PM-11:00PM

The Yellow Forest by Jessie Rose Vala and Stephen Nachtigall invokes notions of temporality and the shared imaginal in order to address the tenuous connections that contemporary western society has to our earthly environment. The exhibition focuses around an expansive multiple channel video installation, sculptural ceramic forms, cut vinyl structures and printed imagery that reference our deep psychological connections to plant and non-human consciousness. The exhibition invokes these connections as a way to re-learn, re-wild, diversify, revive and internalize our bonds to home.

or she of the world and as or one of many of many

Poem by Lisa Radon

unfurls th’articulating lateral sensors mine sinister and dexter in the dark // settings dialed for anticipated input load and yet // tuning beyond surface shell skin bark peel topsoil exoskeleton // reach // and // the impact lays      me      out // hollows round a black hole caldera yawning wider rooted low behind the jaw  // while silent keening high and outward past my edges // hollows wide and opening to r e c e I v e // shiver the hairs on my neck hollows as rushes in one a thousands more ten every and engulfing // layered wave on wave on pulse upon pulse beat shark heart pulse cricket ray beat deer rushes uptake pulse root to leaf tip mycelia to gill // my     breath      gasps     me // flows this polyrhythmic everypulse // inhales me sharply breathes // remember to breathe // here we are // livingly sense me too and too living water living soil living stone ///

I turn off the feed // flow the tears now crying me behind lids and blades ///

sweet series of tumbling trilling a staccato call and call // translator wren // the breath of the world // the variegated bells we call them bells these pipes resonators // feathers stirred an excitation of needles fur granule leaves a rocking of cones as eggs of eggs ///

unfurls the spiraled distal tendrils mine sinister and dexter in this skinwarm dark // place the back of the head on the earth prone place // the back of the shoulders on the earth // the back of the hips the earth the calves and heels on the earth // breathe // feel the parts of you that are touching the earth // breathe // feel the parts of you that are touching this warm air // the breath of the world  // and as the world // as she is many and I too (or properly, “I”) // one after the other unspiral as yellow shoot or tendril rhizome antenna dendrite tendrils trace soil’s surface probe openings groundwasp burrow rootthrow deeper into and through cane and rootpith slow and through soil clay stone // this-a-listening tuning to vibrations of the hexfooted traffic of pebble slippage and groundwater seep trickle vibrations the beak on the trunk to the root // there is a hairline crack in the stone ///

it would be impossible absurd now to use the word feel in the old way ever again deprecated in its limitations its most basic recordings translations of sensory inputs and deprecated in the impossibility of its accounting for emotional responses to what we will call an extended range of inputs // it is likewise impossible not to feel to know her many-ness // our // “I” as many // of many // or myriad many-as-one as the shellworkings of the decorator crab ///

take care of the world one // sufficient self-contained and force field cloaked // scraper on wing file call and call this is clicktalking this is whistletalking // having exited the pavilion of the flaming tongues // the breath of the world // dreaming beak under wing // weaving bull kelp bulb and leaf // a call it residual occulted sensitivity // windbrushed sensor filaments whose roots are nerve-wired // inhales me scent the pale fresh tips of young cedar needle green ///

Stephen Nachtigall (b. 1986, Calgary, Canada) is a visual artist working in Arcata, California. He has exhibited throughout Canada, the United States, Scotland and Germany. He received a BFA in Sculpture from the Alberta University of the Arts and an MFA in studio art from the University of Oregon. His work considers the way in which we relate to things like plants from a mediated perspective, utilizing video, animation, sculptural installation and 2D work to ultimately seek an equitable relationship between human and non-human. Nachtigall currently serves as Assistant Professor of Digital Media at Humboldt State University.

Jessie Rose Vala (born 1977, Madison, Wisconsin) is a multimedia artist working in ceramics, video, installation, and print. Vala received an MFA from University of Oregon and a BFA in painting and ceramic sculpture from California College of the Arts in Oakland, California. Her work has been exhibited at Ever Gold Gallery (San Francisco, CA), V1 Gallery (Copenhagen, Denmark), Present Company (Brooklyn, NY), Torrance Art Museum (California), and has been featured in art fairs in New York and Miami, FL. Vala was an artist in residency at Fjuk residency (Húsavík, Iceland), Playa at Summer Lake (OR), Jentel (WY), Can Serrat (Spain) amongst others. She has received grants from the Oregon Arts Commision, PICA, and the Ford Family Foundation. Vala is part of Ungrund Collective, a collective of female video artists who curate screenings nationally.

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to Jul 12


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April 18 - July 12, 2019
City of Calgary Public Art Program Open Spaces Gallery
EB Centre Street CTrain Station, Calgary, AB, T2G 5R2

Reception & Artist Talk
April 18th, 7:00PM at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #1
116 7th Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0H5

“Failed”, frozen, or partially-rendered images create blurry, digital mirages of people, places, and moments. Images that have not fully resolved or loaded—and relate to frustration and impatience with technology—gel into beautiful, contemplative washes of colour, sometimes with traces of intentioned content. Soft Focus brings together large-scale printed works of nearly-captured moments from the artist’s iPhone—a collection of images as loosely formed thoughts—which prompt us to pause and consider our phones as fickle collaborators in autobiography, photography, and portraiture.

This project is supported by The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.


Hazel May Eckert is a St. John’s-based artist and designer from Toronto, ON. She received a BFA in printmaking from OCAD University (2008) and a diploma in graphic design from the College of the North Atlantic (2017). Eckert’s work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions across Canada. She has received numerous awards, grants, and residencies from the Ontario Arts Council, ArtsNL, Open Studio, and The Rooms. She is also the creator of Nothing New, an independent publishing insignia focused on the production of small-scale artist editions and contemporary print-based works.

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to May 18



Artist Talk // April 5 2019, 7pm at Emmedia, 2005 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB
Opening Reception //  April 5 2019, 8pm - 11pm

Abide by Lyla Rye is a series of videos and video installations that explore the difficulty of being present and still in times of life changes. These installations overlay HD footage of the artist’s mother’s hospital room as she lay dying, with cellphone clips that her teenage daughter shoots. These two types of footage are overlaid using two projectors, creating a physical superimposition where brightness obliterates while darkness reveals. The two single channel works simulate a state where time seems to slow down, yet also drifts past without notice. One traces the baseboard of the house the artist’s father finished building just before he died, while the other witnesses the questionable uniformity of time in a hospital room. 

Coming from a sculpture background but working with video, I am interested in the filmic form’s texture as it reveals the source of its imagery.  In this series, the coarse grain and active camera-work of the cellphone video provide a foil to the still, smooth softness of the hospital footage. These sources are as much a part of the concept of the series as the imagery captured.

Meanwhile the world

Essay by Heather White 

There are truths we avoid telling kids --ostensibly to not scare them, but also because they pain or confuse us to say. To name them would be to pull back the curtain on ourselves, to expose our paltry wizardry. Some truths feel like failures: that we can’t vanquish pain. Can’t stem time’s tide. Can’t keep anyone close forever.

Life is short, though I keep this from my children, begins a poem by Maggie Smith[1] that has trended online several times, following several different (but related) political tragedies. The shooting at Pulse nightclub; the election of Donald Trump; the assassination of Jo Cox. Smith’s poem also names assaults of innocents --not specific or systemic violences, but granular and fundamental ones. A stone thrown at a bird, a child broken, bagged, sunk in a lake. And the cruelty that begins it all, too terrible to tell a child: that life is short.

If life’s shortness isn’t exactly a violence, it is the condition that makes the other violences so terrible; life’s limits make it sacred. And if privilege affords us safety (or belief in safety) from violence, there remains that other, whimpering cruelty, that other crime against the sacred: the mundane. The tedious. Its preponderance.

Life is short, and still it can end without fanfare. The fan will just faintly ripple the sheets. If we’re lucky --this is if we’re lucky!-- while we die we may have a calm clockface nearby, or a window that a plane will cross, occasionally. If we’re very lucky, someone could bring flowers; a petal could tremble. Abide testifies to these banalities kept from children. Existential absurdities, sometimes indignities, that children one day do find; most of the footage here comes from the hospital room where the artist’s mother lay dying.

Tell me about your despair and I’ll tell you mine, invited Mary Oliver in another poem[2] famous on Instagram. Tell me, even though (or perhaps because) the world won’t stop for the exchange. Meanwhile the world goes on, continues Oliver. We’ll despair, but the world will proceed with its chores, the weather. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain /  are moving across the landscapes, / over the prairies and the deep trees, / and the rivers and the mountains.

The weather that persists in here, despite the despairs, is video that interrupts the hospital tableaux. Riots of colour and life burst in and play over the placid room. The footage is from the artist’s daughter’s cell phone, and the scenes are sideways, loud, vivid, spontaneous. The artist’s mother is dying; meanwhile, the world goes on. The artist’s daughter, either in honour or in protest of life’s shortness, sees to this.

It’s a poetic sensibility that attends this meanwhiling, feels how dying and playing dovetail. Which is not to say the sensibility is based in words. W.H Auden admired the Old Masters’ treatment of suffering in their paintings: how it takes place / While someone else is eating or opening a window, or just walking dully along[3]. Auden writes of works that show children who keep playing, ships that sail on past, though Icarus falls from the sky. Meanwhile the world goes on.

Or, as Grace Paley put it, writing of the responsibility of poets: earth and air and water continue and children also continue[4]. She was writing not of the cognitive dissonance the heartbroken feel, but of necessary resilience. The line is about continuing as a condition of freedom --which we need poets (storytellers, activists, sculptors, videographers) to notice and inspire and demand. The thought begins: There is no freedom without fear and bravery   there is no freedom unless.

Heather White is a writer and psychotherapist in Toronto. Her writing on art has appeared in many magazines, including Canadian Art, C Magazine, and MOMUS, and alongside many exhibitions.

[1] Smith, Maggie. “Good Bones.” Good Bones. North Adams: Tupelo Press, 2018.

[2] Oliver, Mary. “Wild Geese.” Dream Work. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986.

[3] Auden, W.H. “Musee des Beaux Arts.” Another Time. London: Random House, 1940.

[4] Paley, Grace. “Responsibility.” Begin Again: Collected Poems. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1985.

Lyla Rye is a Toronto based artist who began her studies in architecture. She works in installation, sculpture, video and photography to explore our experience of architectural space. Her work engages the viewer physically, optically, and conceptually, calling attention to our perception of time and space. Rye studied at the University of Waterloo, York University and the San Francisco Art Institute. For over 25years her work has been exhibited in galleries and screenings across Canada and internationally including New York, San Francisco, Adelaide, Paris, and Berlin. She has exhibited at The Power Plant, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, The Textile Museum of Canada and Olga Korper Gallery among others.  She has work in the public collections of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, York University, Cadillac Fairview Corporation, The Tom Thomson Art Gallery, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery and as part of Ways of Something at The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY. She has received numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. 

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to Apr 30


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March 5 - April 30, 2019
The Calgary Central Public Library
800 3 St SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0E7

Peep Show by Janet Wang is an ode to the online spectacle, as well as an ode to the site in which it is situated. As we walk through the built structures of our society, we are being organized, shifted, moved in a programmed way. While we stroll, run or wheel our way through the guts of the city, our hands are moving over other worlds, other contexts as we scroll, post or consume from our screens.  Our hands, and the hands of others, become a digital proxy to our bodies moving through physical avenues.

Our brains are being reprogrammed by the way we absorb, seek and satiate our need for stimulation - visual, social and informational - online. We are constantly looking for that next hit of dopamine from a like, a repost, a frisson of recognition and confirmation in a headline or push notification.  We devour silent films of hands unboxing, cooking, gesturing, demonstrating all the possibilities that we too can achieve.  These hands become our hands, our possible selves, by digital proxy.

Janet Wang is a visual artist working within a traditional painting practice, integrated with sculptural installation practices and digital media.  She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia and her Master of Arts in Studio Practice from the University of Leeds in England.

Her work explores the construction of identity through the appropriation and disruption of social patterns and familiar gestures. The artist borrows heavily from the canons and traditions of history, both the artistic and the quotidian, in order to use the familiar as a meeting point with the viewer.

Her work has been exhibited internationally and is currently represented through the Art Rental and Sales at the Vancouver Art Gallery. She has been awarded residencies from the Arts Council of England, ArtStarts, the Burnaby Arts Council, and received awards from the Vancouver Foundation and the BC Arts Council. 

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to Apr 28

mourning home | Glenna Cardinal

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February 4 - April 28, 2019
Esker Project Space (444, 1011 – 9th Avenue S.E. Calgary)

Through beautifully crafted work that includes home furnishings, taxidermy, and rocks from the area around her former childhood home, Glenna Cardinal’s work explores themes of land and home, displacement and loss related to the construction Calgary’s Southwest Ring Road through Tsuut’ina Nation.

TRUCK is pleased to partner with the Esker Foundation to present Cardinal’s important and timely installation exploring the human impacts of urban development on First Nations land.

Artist Talk
Saturday, February 9th 2019 from 1pm - 2pm

Walking Tour
Saturday, April 13th from 1:00PM - 2:30PM

The Esker Project Space aims to engage the community by increasing the presence and accessibility of contemporary art. The Project Space program invites emerging and established artists to develop new, responsive exhibitions that directly address the neighborhood and explore important contemporary issues.

Exhibitions in the Project Space can be viewed day and night, seven days a week, and are on display for approximately three months, for a total of four exhibition changes a year.

Glenna Cardinal continues to explore her bone-deep connection to the reserve land that she grew up on, the land that was her Tsuut’ina Nation grandmothers’ and is now the Southwest Calgary Ring Road. Her work is a response to her displacement and forced colonial identity while seeking comfort in a new place. Cardinal is a Saddle Lake Cree Nation member who continues to reside on her maternal reserve, Tsuut’ina Nation.

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to Mar 15



January 19 – March 15, 2019

Opening Reception
Saturday, January 19
Beginning at Stride Gallery from 7:00–9:00 PM & continuing at TRUCK from 9:00–11:00 PM

Organized by: Tarah Hogue, Maria Hupfield and Tania Willard

Artists: Christi Belcourt, IV Castellanos, Marcia Crosby, Maria Hupfield, Ursula Johnson, Cheryl L'Hirondelle, Isaac Murdoch, Esther Neff, Tanya Tagaq, Tania Willard and Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory

Stride Gallery (1006 Macleod Trail SE) and TRUCK Contemporary Art (2009 10th Avenue SW)


To support the work of Indigenous women from across Turtle Island through art that drives dialogue and mobilizes action on the topic of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. To stand together across sovereign territories as accomplices in awakened solidarity with all our relations both human and non.


To ground art in accountability, value lived experience and build upon systems of support. To enact strategies of resurgence, resilience and refusal against the ongoing multiple articulations of power and structural colonial violence of nation states.

From January 19 – March 15, 2019, Stride Gallery and TRUCK Contemporary Art present #callresponse, an artistic and curatorial collaboration led by Indigenous women. The project began with a series of commissions by five artists that took place across diverse locations from Vancouver to Halifax, Iqaluit to New York. Each artist invited respondents to consider her work, and contributions from the initial commissions as well as the responses are included in the exhibition.

A touring exhibition, #callresponse opened at grunt gallery in 2016, and the project continues to evolve and engage each location to which it travels with specific programming. Marking the final iteration of the project, #callresponse will support the partner galleries’ ongoing work with youth from the Tsuut'ina Nation as well as Siksika Nation artist Alyssa Duck Chief to create work in dialogue with the exhibition. Dubbed #calgaryresponse, this programming engages in intergenerational forms of mentorship to empower the voices of youth.

#callresponse promotes discussion and action around Indigenous cultural revitalization, land-based knowledge, and cross-cultural solidarity. Shining a light on work that is both urgent and long-term, #callresponse strategically centers Indigenous women across multiple platforms, moving between specificity of Indigenous nations, site, online space, and the gallery. An online platform using the hashtag #callresponse on social media provides further opportunities for networked exchanges.

#callresponse is informed by discussions about the importance of Indigenous feminisms in grounding our lives and work in reciprocal relations, while critiquing and refusing the intersections of colonialism and patriarchy. The project reorients the vital presence of Indigenous women—their work and their embodied experiences—as central, as defining, and as pre-existing current appeals for a reconcilable future.

This exhibition is organized and circulated by grunt gallery, and presented by Stride Gallery and TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary.

#callresponse is a production of grunt gallery funded by the {Re}conciliation Initiative a partnership between the Canada Council for the Arts, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, and The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. The exhibition tour is additionally supported by the British Columbia Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Christi Belcourt is a Métis visual artist with a deep respect for the traditions and knowledge of her people. The majority of her work explores and celebrates the beauty of the natural world. Author of Medicines To Help Us (Gabriel Dumont Institute, 2007) and Beadwork (Ningwakwe Learning Press, 2010), Christi’s work is found within the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Gabriel Dumont Institute, the Indian and Inuit Art Collection, Parliament Hill, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and Canadian Museum of Civilization, First People’s Hall. Christi is a past recipient of awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Chalmers Family Fund and the Métis Nation of Ontario. In 2014 she was named Aboriginal Arts Laureate by the Ontario Arts Council and shortlisted for the Premier’s Award. She is currently the lead coordinator for Walking With Our Sisters.

Maria Hupfield is a member of Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, currently based in Brooklyn NY. Selected for SITELINES, SITE Santa Fe 2016, she received national recognition in the USA from the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation for her hand-sewn industrial felt sculptures. Her nine-foot birchbark canoe made of industrial felt was performed in Venice, Italy for the premiere of Jiimaan, coinciding with the Venice Biennale 2015. Recent projects include free play, Trestle Gallery Brooklyn with Jason Lujan, and Chez BKLYN, an exhibition highlighting the fluidity of individual and group dynamics of collective art practices across native, non-native, and immigrant experience; conceived by artists in Brooklyn and relayed at Galerie SE Konst, Sweden. She was a guest speaker for the Distinguished Visiting Artist Program, University of British Columbia, Indigenous Feminist Activism & Performance event at Yale, Native American Cultural Center and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Indigenous Rights/Indigenous Oppression symposium with Tanya Tagaq at the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, MD. Like her mother and settler accomplice father before her, Hupfield is an advocate of native community arts and activism. The founder of 7th Generation Image Makers, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, a native youth arts and mural outreach program in downtown Toronto she is Co-owner of the blog Native Art Department International. Hupfield is represented by Galerie Hugues Charbonneau in Montreal.

Ursula Johnson is an emerging performance and installation artist of Mi’kmaw First Nation ancestry. She graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design and has participated in over 30 group shows and 5 solo exhibitions. Her performances are often place-based and employ cooperative didactic intervention. Through the medium of durational performance art she enters into laborious tasks/circumstances that create repetitive strain on her body and mind while creating tension with the viewer. Elmiet (He/She Goes Home) 2010 is an example of work, created specifically for Nova Scotia’s Cultural History regarding the 1756 Scalping Proclamation, where Johnson created an event to host the last scalping in Nova Scotia. Johnson’s recent work Mi’kwite’tmn employs various sculptural mediums to create consideration from her audience about aspects of intangible cultural heritage as it pertains to the consumption of traditional knowledge within the context of colonial institutions. Mi’kwite’tmn: Do You Remember (hosted by Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery) is a solo exhibition currently on a Canadian National Tour. Johnson has been selected as a finalist for the Salt Spring National Art Prize and has twice been longlisted for the Sobey Art Award. She has presented publicly in lectures, keynote addresses and hosted a number of community forums around topics of ‘Indigenous Self-Determination through Art’ and the ‘Environmental Responsibility and Sustainability in Contemporary Indigenous Art Practices’, ‘The History and Impacts of Economics on The Indigenous Object’ as well as ‘Renegotiating Conservation: Revisiting the Roles and Responsibilities of Cultural Institutions in Canada regarding Indigenous Made Objects.

Tania Willard, Secwe̓pemc Nation, works within the shifting ideas around contemporary and traditional, often working with bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between Aboriginal and other cultures. Willard has worked as an artist in residence with Gallery Gachet in Vancouver, Banff Centre’s visual arts residency, and as a curator in residence with grunt gallery and Kamloops Art Gallery. Willard’s work is in the collections of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Kamloops Art Gallery and Thompson Rivers University. Willard’s curatorial work includes Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture, co-curated with Kathleen Ritter and Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun at the Museum of Anthropology with Karen Duffek. Current projects include Rule of the Trees, a public art project at Commercial Broadway SkyTrain station and BUSH gallery, a conceptual land-based gallery grounded in Indigenous knowledges.

Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory is a performer of uaajeerneq – Greenlandic mask dancing, music, drum-dancing, a storyteller and actor. Her career has allowed her to travel all across Canada and to many wondrous parts of the world. Laakkuluk’s poetry was recently commissioned for the exhibit Fifth World (2015), curated by Wanda Nanibush, Mendel Art Gallery Saskatoon and the Kitchener Art Gallery. Her collaboration with Maria Hupfield From the Belly to the Moon (2012), a six part postcard exchange project connecting performance art in Iqaluit to New York was a Fuse Magazine artist project. In addition to her poetry, theatre and uaajeerneq, Laakkuluk is a founding member and Programme Manager of Qaggiavuut! Society for a Nunavut Performing Arts Centre. Qaggiavuut! is the lead in a team called Qaggiq that was a laureate to the prestigious Arctic Inspiration Prize. Laakkuluk is a co-creator and actor of Tulugak—a circumpolar theatre piece studying the relationship between Inuit and ravens.Tulugak was a first of its kind and the flagship performance of the Northern Scene Festival at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in 2013. Laakkuluk is currently working with Tanya Tagaq on a number of different performances, both live and filmed. She has also curated projects that challenge outdated museum exhibition practices for Inuit culture at the Art Gallery of Ontario including: Inuit Art in Motion (2003) and Illitarivingaa? Do You Recognize me?(2004), which additionally brought youth together across urban and rural environments through Tauqsiijiit, an onsite residence and youth media lab located at the heart of the exhibition with participants from: Igloolik Isuma Productions, Qaggiq Theatre, Siqiniq Productions, Daybi, Tungasuvvingat Inuit Youth Drop In Centre (Ottawa), 7th Generation Image Makers (Native Child and Family Services of Toronto), Debajehmujig Theatre Group (Wikwemikong) and Qaggiq Theatre (Iqaluit).

Tarah Hogue is the 2016 Audain Aboriginal Curatorial Fellow with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and Curator at grunt gallery in Vancouver. Her work with Indigenous People in Canada aims to decenter institutional space and history. Using collaborative methodologies and a careful attentiveness to place, she prioritizes responsible research methodologies of Indigenous knowledge that are grounded in the intersectional practices of Indigenous feminisms, re/conciliation, and cultural resurgence. Recent curatorial projects include Unsettled Sites, a group show on haunting settler colonialism at SFU Gallery; and Cutting Copper: Indigenous Resurgent Practice, a collaboration between grunt gallery and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery UBC, co-organizer Shelly Rosenblum. Previous exhibits featured the work of residential school survivors in Canada and their descendants, including NET-ETH: Going Out of the Darkness, co-curated with Rose M. Spahan, Malaspina Printmakers; and Witnesses: Art and Canada’s Indian Residential Schools, at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, co-curated by Geoffrey Carr, Dana Claxton, Tarah Hogue, Shelly Rosenblum, Charlotte Townsend-Gault and Keith Wallace. Hogue is writer-in-residence for thirstDays with VIVO Media Arts, and has written for BlackFlash Magazine (forthcoming) Canadian ArtDecoy MagazineInuit Art Quarterly, and MICE Magazine (forthcoming). She holds an MA in Art History, Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of British Columbia and a BA(H) in Art History from Queen’s University. Hogue is Métis/French Canadian and of Dutch Canadian ancestry, she grew up in Red Deer Alberta, on the border between Treaty 6 and 7 along the original trading route of the Métis. She identifies as an uninvited guest on the unceded Coast Salish territories of Vancouver BC where she has lived since 2008.

Isaac Murdoch / Manzinapkinegego’anaabe / Bombgiizhik, is fish clan from Serpent River First Nation, Ontario. Isaac grew up hunting, fishing, trapping and learning from indigenous cultural knowledge carriers on the northern regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Isaac is well respected as a storyteller and keeper of Anishinaabe traditions. He is known for his cultural camps and community workshops that focus on the transfer of knowledge to youth. Murdoch holds specialized expertise in: historical Anishinaabe paint techniques, reading and writing pictographs and birch bark scrolls, indigenous harvesting in the great lakes region, medicine walks, birchbark canoe making, Anishinaabeg ceremonies and oral history. He has committed his life to the preservation of Anishinaabek cultural practices.

IV Castellanos  “Abstract performance art has been the vein for my physical memory to thrive. Simply, I create objects and destroy them. In creating this gesture I am able to articulate ideas that I shifted and bottle necked down one resonating path. All of the information is channeled but visually clear, concise and often under 15 minutes. The interest is in transforming energy and the route has been moulded over the course of performing by trimming the fat and getting the job done. Labor is a source for my work, the physical body moving through day to day direction and carrying an othered body under constant critique and observation. There is power in focused action. Timing allows the intensity to maintain saturation for the viewer to barely digest in the moment.” – IV Castellanos. IV Castellanos lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn. She founded IV Soldiers Gallery, is an active community member and performs regularly in performance art spaces throughout Brooklyn.

Esther Neff is the founder and co-director of Panoply Performance Laboratory (PPL), a collective making operas-of-operations and a laboratory site for performance projects celebrating it’s 10th anniversary in 2016. She is a collaborative and solo performance artist, and independent theorist and a member of Feminist Art Group, Social Health Performance Club and Organizers Against Imperialist Culture. Neff has curated and organized numerous performance projects for art festivals and conferences in New York and is based out of Bushwick in Brooklyn. Her current work and research is a series of operations entitled Embarrassed of the Whole a multi-year project to be executed for a full month in February 2017.

Cheryl L’Hirondelle  is a community-engaged interdisciplinary artist, singer/songwriter and new media curator originally from the land now known as Canada. She is of Cree/Métis and German Canadian  background and her creative practice is an investigation of the intersection of a Cree worldview (nêhiyawin) and contemporary time-space. Her current projects include: community engaged singing workshops with incarcerated women, men and detained youth;  international songwriting/mapping media installations where she ‘sings land’; and a series of Cree language songs (with Moe Clark and long time collaborator Joseph Naytowhow). She is the sole proprietor of Miyoh Music, an Indigenous niche music publishing company and is currently writing about her work process in collaborative approaches as a PhD candidate at UCD in Dublin, Ireland.

Marcia Crosby works as a researcher, writer and curator and has taught Literature and Native Studies at Vancouver Island University for 16 years. She has contributed essays on the work of Emily Carr, Bill Reid, Rebecca Belmore, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and is the author of the influential essay, “Construction of the Imaginary Indian.” Crosby’s current PhD in Art History, Visual Culture and Theory, UBC, Vancouver extends her curatorial research and writing for the exhibition, Nations in Urban Landscapes (1994). Her doctoral work has focused on the creation of public cultural practices and space for diverse publics by Salishan and Tsimshian people (ca. 1900) as acts of social reproduction and contestation. Recent curatorial works include: “Aboriginal art in the city: Fine and Popular” in Vancouver Art in the 60s (Curator and writer) 2008+; “The Paintings of Henry Speck: Udz’stalis”, co-written and co-curated with Karen Duffek, Museum of Anthropology (MOA) 2012.

Tanya Tagaq earned the prestigious 2014 Polaris Music Prize for her album Animism and is a multi-Juno award winning vocalist. A genre unto herself she is rooted in tradition, her unique vocal style aligns with avant-garde improvisation, metal, and electronica influences. She delivers fearsome, elemental performances that are visceral and physical, heaving and breathing and alive. Tagaq is from Cambridge Bay (Iqaluktuutiaq), NunavutCanada, on the south coast of Victoria Island. Tagaq is known for her work with Björk, the Kronos Quartet, and the recent production “Nanook of The North” in which she created a mesmerizing, improvisatory soundscape for the controversial silent film by Robert J. Flanerty from 1922. Her new album Retribution is slated for release in October 2016.

Alyssa Duck Chief is an emerging artist from the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation. Currently attending the Alberta College of Art + Design, studying a Bachelors of Fine Arts in drawing. Their practices primarily deal with identity, Blackfoot culture, stories told, and the Aboriginal/Native American issues in North America. Growing up there was little knowledge passed on of the traditional ways, but as time went on, they began to explore and continually learning to this day. The work created gives a platform for their voice as an indigenous person and for discussing the culture and issues that go on in indigenous communities. As a young indigenous person, they have an engrained purpose to tell their story and the stories of the Blackfoot. With their practices it is sought out to make an impact on Canadian society with the powerful concepts of storytelling and the outspoken issues in Aboriginal/Native America communities.

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to Nov 25

Amanda Strong | GIRAF 14


Exhibition // November 22 – November 25 2018

A behind-the-scenes look at the puppets and props created for Strong's imaginative stop motion animated films. This exhibition begins to show the intensive process behind stop motion animation through a look at the scale, intricate details, and method based decision making. Strong utilizes animation as a medium of storytelling to explore ideas of blood memory and indigenous ideology.

Presented in partnership with Quickdraw Animation’s GIRAF 14 Festival. For full line-up and tickets see their website here:

Amanda Strong is an Michif interdisciplinary artist with a focus on filmmaking, stop motion animations and media art. Currently based on unceded Coast Salish territories also known as Vancouver, BC, Canada. Strong received a BAA in Interpretative Illustration and a Diploma in Applied Photography from the Sheridan Institute. With a cross-discipline focus, common themes of her work are reclamation of Indigenous histories, lineage, language and culture. Strong is the Owner/Director/Producer of Spotted Fawn Productions Inc. (SFP). Under her direction SFP utilizes a multi-layered approach and unconventional methods that are centered in collaboration on all aspects of their work. 

Strong's work is fiercely process-driven and takes form in various mediums such as: virtual reality, stop motion, 2D/3D animation, gallery/museum installations, published books and community-activated projects. Strong and her team at Spotted Fawn Productions are currently working on the research and development of bringing these works into more interactive spaces. 

Most recently she was selected by renowned filmmaker Alanis Obamsawin to receive $50,000 in post-services through the Clyde Gilmour Technicolour Award. In 2016 she received the Vancouver Mayor's Arts Awards for Emerging Film and Media Artist. In 2013, Amanda was the recipient of K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Film and Video. Her films have screened across the globe, most notably at Cannes, TIFF, VIFF, and Ottawa International Animation Festival. She has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, BC Arts Council and the NFB. Spotted Fawn Productions is currently developing new short animations Wheetago War and Biidaaban (The Dawn Comes). SFP's latest short animations Four Faces of the Moon and Flood are available online through CBC Short Docs and CBC Arts. 

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to Nov 17

Show up for the Messiness of how you Feel so you can Better Create What you Need | FemmeWave


Reception // November 17 2018 at 3:30pm

Show up for the Messiness of how you Feel so you can Better Create What you Need is a two person exhibition that brings together artists Adrienne Crossman and Jane Trash. Showing new and collaborative works the pair explore the complicated ways in which contemporary queers traverse a myriad of categories and labels to create a personal understanding of identity. 

Please join us for the closing reception on Saturday afternoon, November 17, 2018, from 3:30-5:00.

This exhibition is presented by Femme Wave Feminist Arts Festival. Femme Wave is a feminist arts festival that takes place on Treaty 7 territory and the traditional territory of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), Nakoda (Stoney), and Tsuut’ina, also known as Calgary, Alberta. Founded in 2015, it is a collective-run organization with board and committee members of diverse and varying backgrounds. The festival takes place annually across multiple inner-city venues and has enjoyed considerable growth since its inception.

Adrienne Crossman is an artist and curator working and living in Windsor, Ontario. Her practice involves the exploration of non-normative and non-binary objects, characters and spaces, with a specific interest in queer potentialities within the non-human. Crossman creates queer interventions through the manipulation of digital media and popular culture and by locating queer sensibilities in the everyday. She is a sessional professor at McMaster University and holds an MFA in Visual Art from the University of Windsor, and a BFA in Integrated Media with a Minor in Digital and Media Studies from OCAD University. 

Jane Trash graduated from the Alberta College of Art & Design in 2004 with a BFA in Printmaking. Since then she co-founded a silkscreen based merchandising company, Jiffy-T, was an operational co-owner at Tubby Dog, is heavily involved with all ages promotion in the Calgary punk rock scene and was voted Top-40-Under-40 in Avenue Magazine (2013) for her involvement in the community and various charity work. Trash’s interest and exploration of puppet fabrication lead to an introductory puppet seminar in LA at Michael Earl’s Puppet School in 2014. Trash is on the Board of The New Gallery and she is currently working at Alberta College of Art & Design as the Educational Art Technician of Print Media.

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to Dec 15

You hold me, as I fumble to emulate your care


Opening Reception // November 9 2018 at 7pm

Performance of hamara badan by Farheen HaQ // November 9 2018 at 8pm

You hold me, as I fumble to emulate your care includes new work by Farheen HaQ, Kablusiak, and Nicole Kelly Westman, which speaks to the complexities of care, intimacy, vulnerability, and relationality through the lens of mothering. Curated by Ginger Carlson.

You hold me, I hold you

Essay by Ginger Carlson

O god save all the many gendered-mothers of my heart, & all the other mothers, who do not need god or savior,

our hearts persist in excess of the justice they’re refused.

-Dana Ward, “A Kentucky of Mothers”


I start here, so that you might know the breadth of my emulations. I fumble to emulate your care, and those of all the others that make up a body that labours and learns and fails and adapts. A plenitude of mothers, a multitude. A complexity that may evoke a categorization, and yes, can be sameness, but yet, it also resists these devices and vibrates perceptibly in difference. The mothering of and by and from alterity is a shifting relationality, a verbing, a dialogic, a subjectivity - it encompasses a way of thinking and an ethics of temporality. Mothering is a continuous separation and a becoming that is enacted.


I mirror your voice. I inherit a mother tongue and I speak it to you. An acquisition of language is doubled by an acquisition of ethics, of listening, of reciprocity. But what if this language is not ours, really? When you find your language, is that a way of mothering too? Mothering your insides – your mind, your heart, your spirit, your lungs, your esophagus, your tongue, your very breath as it escapes. Is this an acquisition that is more your own?

Mother of, a script that might also be read as Singer of. A little closer to your breath and the vibrations of your body. Singer of your longing for language, your longing for home, your longing for closeness to those pieces of you that are far away and missing. A mothering that longs for you to know yourself better than the horizon knows the ocean; which is a touching, a grasping, but a dearth of distance nevertheless.

And sometimes these things really are only for you. You render them visible yet opaque by articulating their outlines. Their insides are not for everyone to know, and you learn their shapes better by pushing them out of your mouth. Some gaps were there already, but others you put there intentionally, a way of protecting through omission, a way of mothering. Someday you might fill in the lines, or maybe you won’t.


I lean into you. The clothes that I wear hold the shape of you too. We sink sublimely into each other and balance each other’s weights and burdens. This is an emulation that we both share, and I find myself searching for mothers in every posture, every desire, every action in the pursuit of generosity and justice, of occupying space, of holding space, of giving it up. 

Your labours here are not forgotten. You mothered tenacity and honesty, empathy and generosity in me. In the pursuit of carving out space you encountered derision and this mothered in me an awareness of the facets of patriarchy and the mechanics of authority. Your labours here are not forgotten, they are echoed. Refracting in my actions like reflected light, they create a colour spectrum.

And what about the open road? What about those open spaces do you find so appealing? Is it because she was there too, long before you, and she paved the way? Is it the journey or the destination, the spaces in between, where you start or where you end up, or is it the road itself that mothers you?


I struggle with the weight of you. The circuitous route that you took to find your body helped me find my body too. One hundred and forty pounds of plenitude and nourishment that you shared with me. A sharing, an occupying, a heavy feeling around my insides – it is a kind of mothering. Over time it becomes a way of reconstituting. Constituting self with other, a fabric of knowing that is embodied and laboured upon. Inside my body, a multitude of bodies.

And they are made up of care, of hospitality. A radical precondition for ethics; an unconditional welcoming, untethered from those modes of thinking that commodify and categorize. This is a kind of mothering too, and it is a labour also. A materiality of labour: you give form to it, exteriorize it, offer up an outer economics of it. It feels insistent, and so you articulate it. You carry one hundred and forty pounds of it.

Let’s return again to insides. My insides feel knotted sometimes. You pour yourself out and the cup overflows and I almost drown in it. La mer, the sea, the mother - there is a drowning in mothering too. A fumbling, a floundering, a loss, a filling up and a pouring out. A kind of dying, a kind of offering, a kind of wet closeness to your organs, a kind of breaking them apart.


And here is where I turn to your hands. A mirroring that pushes outwards against its narrow framing, and lets a multiplicity of mothers in. To emulate, to receive, to reciprocate, to return. The many-gendered many-othered many mothers of my heart begin here, in your hands. You hold me, I hold you.

Ginger Carlson is the Executive Director of TRUCK. Previously, she was the Director of Untitled Art Society (2013 - 2016) and the Visual Arts Curator for the Sled Island Music and Arts Festival in Calgary (2015 - 2017). She sits on the Board of Directors for the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference, M:ST Performative Art Festival and is the acting Vice-President of the Alberta Association of Artist-run Centres. She has written essays and reviews for BlackFlash Magazine, Canadian Art, Luma Film and Media Art Quarterly, and SNAPline. In 2016, she received the Canadian Art Foundation Writing Prize.

Documentation by Nicole Kelly Westman

Farheen HaQ is a South Asian Muslim Canadian artist who has been living on unceded Lekwungen territory (Victoria, BC) for 20 years.  She was born and raised in Haudenosanee territory (Niagara region, Ontario) amongst a tight-knit Muslim community.  Her multidisciplinary practice which often employs video, installation and performance is informed by interiority, relationality, embodiment, ritual and spiritual practice. She has exhibited her work in galleries and festivals across Canada and internationally including New York, Paris, Buenos Aires, Lahore and Hungary. Farheen’s current work focuses on understanding her family history on Canadian territories, caregiving and the body as a continuum of culture and time.

Kablusiak is an Inuvialuk artist and curator based in Alberta and holds a BFA in Drawing from the Alberta College of Art and Design. They recently completed the Indigenous Curatorial Research Practicum at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Kablusiak uses art and humour as a coping mechanism to address cultural displacement. The lighthearted nature of their practice extends gestures of empathy and solidarity; these interests invite a reconsideration of the perceptions of contemporary Indigeneity.

Kablusiak is a board member of Stride Gallery (2016-present). Awards include the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize (2017) and the Primary Colours Emerging Artist Award (2018). They have recently shown work at Art Mûr as part of the Biennale d’art contemporain autochtone (2018) and at the Athens School of Fine Arts as part of the Platforms Project (2018). Kablusiak, along with three other Inuit curators, will be creating the inaugural exhibition of the new Inuit Art Centre in 2020.

Nicole Kelly Westman is a visual artist of Métis and Icelandic descent. She grew up in a supportive home with strong-willed parents—her mother, a considerate woman with inventive creativity, and her father, an anonymous feminist. Her work culls from these formative years for insight and inspiration. Westman holds a BFA from Emily Carr University and is currently based in the parkland region of Alberta. Her writing has been published in Inuit Art Quarterly, C Magazine and Luma Quarterly.

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to Oct 20

Entertaining Every Second | Life of a Craphead


Opening Reception // September 7 2018 at 7pm

Artist Talk // October 2 2018 at 7pm

Performance, various locations // October 7 2018 from 12pm-5pm

Entertaining Every Second is a new body of performance and sculptural work by Life of a Craphead (Amy Lam and Jon McCurley) that engages with experiences and representations of western imperialism in Asia. The title of comes from a Nam June Paik quote: “I am a poor [wo]man from a poor country, so I have to be entertaining every second.”

Specifically for M:ST, Life of a Craphead are undertaking a new performance project that involves researching a tragic part of Jon’s family history, where his grandmother was robbed and killed by an off-duty U.S. soldier during the American War in Vietnam. According to a rumour in the family, the soldier subsequently served a two-year prison sentence in the U.S. and is still living in the Midwest. Life of a Craphead are trying to find out the true story, which is obscured by the lack of documentation around Vietnamese victims of the war. This includes requesting records from the U.S. National Archives and interviewing Jon’s family.

Science Fiction

Essay by Jason Hirata

There is fiction in the space between

The lines on your page of memories

Write it down but it doesn't mean

You're not just telling stories There is fiction in the space between

You and reality

You will do and say anything

To make your everyday life seem less mundane

There is fiction in the space between

You and me


There's a science fiction in the space between

You and me

A fabrication of a grand scheme

Where I am the scary monster

I eat the city and as I leave the scene

In my spaceship I am laughing

In your remembrance of your bad dream

There's no one but you standing


Leave the pity and the blame

For the ones who do not speak

You write the words to get respect and compassion

And for posterity

You write the words and make believe

There is truth in the space between


There is fiction in the space between

You and everybody

Give us all what we need

Give us one more sad sordid story

But in the fiction of the space between

Sometimes a lie is the best thing

Sometimes a lie is the best thing


Oh the best thing

Is the best thing 

The ache of Tracy Chapman's deadpan resolve to turn her words over to we delicate listeners as though cut directly from artist to audience is a pain congruent with history as much as it is with love and affection.  Her words bite and grip in a way that is cause for examination—of distance, of contiguity, of distinction. I recall the song here because I want to speak of history through the music[1] of the present (as though history’s here in this room with us–which it is) and because as artists we want to disenchant the cruel tricks, forgeries and science fictions we are all forced to live with.

The work of Life of a Craphead—their stoicism and unpretending humor—is something I’ve known them to cultivate amidst cascades of bad (world) news and amongst a huge family of friends. Affection, which comes easy to them, is a wonderfully connective force through which something like empathy[2] travels: first across bodies, then across time, and again back to bodies long forgotten or concealed. This is to say that the emotive contributions of Amy and Jon’s practice come from a preoccupancy that seeks to extend the in-the-hand possibilities of an encounter with a work of art to something that might bring history and the supposedly deeply wrought lessons it offers to bear on itself (as well as the abyssal failure of such lessons and offerings).

When Chapman sings that “there’s a science fiction in the space between you and me” I propose this to mean that the transversive zone between bodies, by which common-knowledge would have us believe identity is made discontiguous and individual, is in fact the work of science and fiction alike. We live in an invention, you see–the world. Hurting me hurts you, and while I maintain that for you, my pain is most likely not understandable I know that, for you, yours most likely is.[3]

Leave the pity and the blame

For the ones who do not speak

You write the words to get respect and compassion

And for posterity

You write the words and make believe

There is truth in the space between

There is a monopoly on contiguity[4] that places prisons and factories in the distant outskirts (away from family, home… life) and endlessly drafts and redrafts borders, rights, citizens, soldiers, and enemies. Contiguity—the state of being in contact, proximity or touch—when restricted, dulls the affection with which we might consider one another and distances our actions from the political urgency, efficacy and weight that they truly pitch. That we are not in touch is a fiction. The science of posterity as figured by forces like the state and the rule of law and property is a fiction. The necessity of bounded exclusionary zones and punishment is a fiction. The necessity of war and victory is a fiction. In the space, just space, dead space– In the abyss between you and me you move an inch to the right and low and behold you bump into a body, a cousin; an inch to the left, a mother, a daughter...

The “truth” then, “in the space between” lies in the fact that this depth is populated not by worded stories but bodied ones and that the segregatory defenses against this population[5] are in fact manned[6] and thus ultimately human and bodied as well.

Amy and Jon’s rageful and loving destruction comes across somehow as light and immediate as a kiss on the cheek, and the joie-de-vivre with which these gestures land comes with the promise that you can hug and slap a ghost, deceased or living. What I mean—and what their work tells me—is that the past is not asleep: you can, with little pomp and circumstance, have the impossible conversations through which the world might be rendered capable of a human response[7].

[1] An adult contemporary song from 2000 is not exactly a current top 40, but what I mean by ‘music’ in this case is lyricism, poetry, or feeling.

[2] There’s a problem with this word: empathy is the ability to understand someone else’s feelings. The ableist belief in the primacy of understanding and logic that sets every imaginable state and situation neatly in line in an indexically fungible (exchangeable) grid of possibilities is one that turns the un-indexibal or un-understandable into the impossible. Affinity is a better word.

[3] See probably Fred Moten and Stefano Harny. The Undercommons, 2013.

[4] See Ruth Wilson Gilmore. In the Shadow of the Shadow State. The Revolution Will Not be Funded, 2009.

[5] See Hans Haake’s 2000 artwork Der Bevölkerung.

[6] ‘Manned,’ as in operated by a human and ‘manned’ as in operated by masculine patriarchal vision.

[7] See Hortense J. Spillers. On the Idea of Black Culture, 2006. In this essay Spillers explains Black Culture to be the work of saving the world from the regime of capital, expansion and militaristic dominion (the inventions and tools of white settler-colonialist global empire and business). Our salvation as a species, she explains, depends on wresting control of the world from the cold machinic logic of capital and rendering its faculties capable of a human response.

Jason Hirata, born 1986, Seattle, examines the historical conditions of culture, social space, revolution and labor. Past works have lifted menus and meal plans of internment camps for people of Japanese ancestry from the archives of the U.S. Army Western Defense Command; reproduced Goya’s renderings of famine, in which peasants eat the blight-resistant yet neurotoxin-containing grass pea; investigated the application of theories of shareholder value to General Electric by its notorious CEO Jack Welch; and re-positioned LED streetlamp hardware at eye level, reproducing the condition of hyper- visibility so that sight is overwhelmed by illumination. Hirata’s works connect historical sites to show how financial speculation and risk are managed and implemented alongside a precarious model of the social. In his sculptures, drawings, and performances he examines how state and corporate practices and structures transform the cultural and material reproduction of life.

Life of a Craphead is the collaboration of Amy Lam and Jon McCurley. Their work spans performance art, film, and curation. The name Life of a Craphead comes from the opening joke of the very first live comedy routine they performed together in 2006. Their work investigates, through the central principle of humour, the different ways in which power and authority are deployed. Projects include King Edward Equestrian Statue Floating Down the Don (2017), a public art project where they floated a replica of a colonial statue down a river in Toronto;  Bugs (2016), a feature-length film about a bug society; and The Life of a Craphead Fifty-Year Retrospective, 2006-2056, a fake museum exhibition of all of the work they will ever make (2013). They also organized and hosted the performance art show Doored from 2012-2017. Life of a Craphead has exhibited across Canada and the U.S. and has been featured in Art in America, Canadian Art, Washington Post, CBC, VICE, and others. Amy is Chinese and Jon is Vietnamese-Irish, and they live and work in Toronto, Canada.

Image credits: Diane + Mike Photography

View Event →
to Sep 30

Saintes | Rosalie H. Maheux


Saintes is an installation incorporating a series of resin sculptures casted from the inside of hollow Virgin Mary statues. By treating the negative space inside the statues as the “new icon”, Rosalie H. Maheux removes both physical and psychological aspects related to the Virgin Mary, thus offering a contrasting new perspective on the representation of women.

With the shapes obtained from the interior cast of the hollow statues and the re-appropriation of catholic shrines, the work confronts the idea of procreation versus pleasure while proposing an intergenerational and critical conversation between the artist’s catholic cultural background and her feminist views.

The creation of this work was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des Arts du Canada and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country. 

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

Rosalie H. Maheux was born in a small town on the South shore of the Saint Lawrence River, Québec, Canada in 1988. Maheux obtained an Honours Bachelor of Arts - Specialist in Studio from the University of Toronto, in 2014. She now lives and works in Toronto, Canada and focuses primarily on sculpture and installation.

Her work has been featured in many group shows and has been presented in solo shows at the Y+ Contemporary Gallery (2016) and Gallery on Wade (2016), in Toronto. In 2016, she was an artist in residence at Eastside International in Los Angeles, California. Recent activities include a public installation in Fredericton, New Brunswick in partnership with Third Space Gallery, Saint-John, New Brunswick (April 2018) and an upcoming awarded residency for Emerging Artist at Spark Box Studio, Ontario (October 2018)

Rosalie H. Maheux is also the visual half of STRANDS, a performative and musical collaboration project with musician Jasmyn Burke.

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Screwdriver for Mary | Marika Vandekraats
to Jul 14

Screwdriver for Mary | Marika Vandekraats


Exhibition // June 22 July 14 2018

Reception // June 22 2018 from 3:00 - 6:00PM

Performance // June 23 2018 from 1:00 - 5:00PM at Central Memorial Library

In the performance, Washing Hands in the Shape of My Mother’s Hands, Marika Vandekraats washes the hands of participants with a soap casted from her mother’s hand, sharing a brief experience of familial care. The hand-wash station will be set up in the Central Memorial Park, with an open invitation for anyone to participate. Over time, the soap will break down and dissolve the fingerprints, removing the identity, and leaving behind a faint scent of clean hands.

A concurrent exhibition, Screwdriver for Mary, takes place in TRUCK Contemporary Art, screening a new video work and installation that is built on the memories of maternal care, touch, soap bubbles. The imprints of care one receives dissolves through time to integrate into a larger weave of one’s being. Its assurance looms writ large as memory, promise, or reciprocation.

Presented in partnership with Sled Island Music & Arts Festival.

Marika Vandekraats is a visual artist currently based in her home city of Vancouver. She previously lived in Rotterdam, NL, where she began experimentation into performances and site-specific based work. Currently, her work focuses on the human personalities given to non-human elements in life. Through assemblage Vandekraats questions the assumed actions and expectations of commonplace objects. She pushes such expectations until the objects exhaust their own functions and begin to produce something anew. Marika Vandekraats received her BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2016 and currently works at the James Black Gallery.

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WE ARE WALLED | Xiaoyu Sun
to Jul 14

WE ARE WALLED | Xiaoyu Sun


WE ARE WALLED is a video installation about “the Great Firewall”. In China, there is a surveillance apparatus that is called “the Great Firewall”, which blocks internet access and controls internet traffic. WE ARE WALLED explores the influence of this “wall” on Chinese people who have experienced living inside of it and outside of it.

Xiaoyu Sun is a Master of Fine Arts Candidate in the Department of Art at the University of Calgary. After graduating from University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, she had been working as a graphic designer for one year. In 2016, she decided to go back to school to pursue a Masters degree. She started her research from a phenomenon called “Quantified-Self” to the relationship between technology and human. Now, she is doing the research on the topic of “the Great Firewall”. She was shortlisted by Hague Video Award and her work has been shown in the Department of Art at the University of Calgary.

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Projections ± Predispositions | Brandon Giessman
to Jul 31

Projections ± Predispositions | Brandon Giessman


Projections ± Predispositions considers the parallels between exclusion from public and private spaces, through the dual lenses of marginalization and trauma, which work to sever confidence in safety and bodily autonomy. Soil from past installations creates a bed, a place for potential growth, reflection, and rest, while a distressed sheet evokes intimacies between those who have been, are, and will be. The surrounding pansies are disrupted by barbed wire, violent boundaries demanding exile, submission, and observation. As the flowers wilt due to a lack of care, the wire makes its presence increasingly known, holding up the plants as examples of what is to come as these structures remain.

Brandon Giessmann is a Canadian visual artist and writer who explores how trauma, gender, and sexuality intersect in response to notions of identity and its related politics. Giessmann is interested in codifying and veiling information to consider how his projects interact with one another, the spaces they inhabit, and how reusing materials can inform present and future work. Installations and performances become vessels for conversation and reflection, where he addresses his own trauma, the process of healing, and his fear of social and institutional repercussion as a gay man. These thoughts are translated into various collections of critical text, creative writing, and visual art that help him understand his own positions and feelings regarding these often confusing topics and the disorientation he continues to experience due to his privileges as a cisgender white male recovering from past sexual assault and abuse. Brandon Giessmann is a recent BFA graduate from the Alberta College of Art + Design and is a University at Buffalo MFA candidate. 

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-PATHIE | Andrée-Anne Roussel
to Jul 14

-PATHIE | Andrée-Anne Roussel


Opening Reception // June 1 2018 at 7:00PM

-PATHIE is an interactive installation featuring video elements and a kinetic sculpture, revolving around the themes of engagement and apathy. It questions our relationship with the world, and with works of art in particular.

In concert with the exhibition, TRUCK & Shelf Life Books are pleased to present a reading room in the Parkade Space, which includes content that aligns with the exhibition and expands on its ideas.


Essay by Nathalie Bachand

What is at work while we give attention to things around us?

Which kind of engagement does this represent?

Are we then engaged with reality?

Are we away from it?

Or from us? 

-PATHIE, an interactive video installation by Montreal artist Andrée-Anne Roussel, is composed of three projections (two large and one smaller), a flat screen, as well as a kinetic sculpture. The ensemble is cinematic, creating a distance between the viewer and the projections, while the materiality of the sculpture simultaneously produces a sense of proximity, a contradiction that results in a sense of ambivalence, when considering the entirety of the installation. The sculpture is made of a coffee cup installed on a base elevated to eye level. Observation of this everyday object, both mundane and familiar, creates a reflex of recognition, the sensation of being in a known world. But which world is not that clear. While approaching the object, one notices that it acts, in fact, outside of the logics of our world: the coffee inside the cup starts slowly whirling, as if moved by an invisible force – but from where, or by what, is this force originating? Does it come from us, the viewers?

Invisible forces are at work throughout the project. The invisible here acts not only as a driving force that induces, perhaps, mysterious movement that flows from us, but it is also a form of attention. To be attentive is an invisible way to engage with reality: no movement, no sound, not much else other than witnessing the world around us. Attention may also take the mask of apathy, or its good-looking mirror, empathy. While we watch the two large projections in the space, we can see this tiny boundary between apathy and empathy: each character is acting in a very non expressive way so that we cannot tell what their feelings really are. They are, however, attentive. And while we may think that they are detached because of their non expression, they may rather be strongly engaged with the world. Cunningly echoing this engagement, we perceive the movements that animate the objects: a hanger, a screw, a knife, an egg, a plant, and again, the coffee that whirls with regularity inside a cup.

Objects are framed in all four sequences. In the projections, there is an almost unnoticeable connection between them and the characters: objects are in sight, silently observed in the daylight. Then on the flat screen, they are alone, moving by themselves, animated by a life, a will, or a blind force. Here, in tight framing, the moving objects are underlined as quotations. What do the objects say about themselves if not that they are breaking up with reality in a way that we do not control? Or maybe we are in control without knowing it? Which brings up the question of interactivity, of its modality and degree of demonstrability. Are we activating something? How can we know if this is the case? Interactivity is often understood as an active, even proactive, way to engage with artworks. Providing the public with a sense of amazement and the desire to entertain generally lies behind interactive work, as if it has to be impressive, playful, and appealing in order to manipulate, often operating through a tactile mode. But we are not there: the interactivity here should be comprehended as a means for a mere presence to influence the environment around it, just by being there, by existing. Have we forgotten that the fact of being alive has an effect on the world and its matter? 

-PATHIE works as an environment wherein reality is not given as something obvious. Characters see things, while they are simultaneously seen through other lenses: an infinity of active perspectives coexist in the same room, as we may witness in the smaller projection. Forces here are so slightly visible, and yet, they create a complex play of interactions, as subtle as the air when there’s no wind; the light, allowed by an open window; the glowing dust in the sun at 6pm; the dust again, blown by our breath. Environments and objects are constantly reflecting and capturing micro changes happening all around: we don’t notice it, but absolutely everything is in motion, always. Similarly, attention slowly moves from one thing to another, alternating between apathy and empathy – engaging itself with the world.

Nathalie Bachand is an art writer and curator. Actively involved in the cultural field, she regularly writes on the visual and media arts. She is interested in the issues of digital technology and its conditions of emergence in contemporary art. In 2016, Bachand co-curated, with Chloé Grondeau, the exhibition ADC/DAC by the New York artist Phillip David Stearns, presented at Diagonale as part of the BIAN’s 3rd edition. Most recently, she was curator of the group exhibition The Dead Web – La fin, presented at Eastern Bloc, and of the project of 32 exhibitions UN MILLION D'HORIZONS of the Accès culture network for the 375th anniversary of Montréal, which took place in the summer of 2017. Bachand currently holds the position of direction of cultural knowledge for the centre en art actuel Sporobole where she writes short essays on art-science relationships.

Andrée-Anne Roussel is both a filmmaker and new media artist. She holds a Bachelor's degree in film production and a Masters in Communications (concentration in research-creation of experimental media) from l’Université du Québec à Montréal. Her interactive video installations and sensory short films are the result of her research on themes of ambiguity, failure, fragility and empathy. Her work has been shown at the Sapporo International Short Film Festival, Musée d’art de Joliette and at LABoral Centre de Arte.

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Hot Mess | Madeleine Mayo
to May 31

Hot Mess | Madeleine Mayo

In the confusion and the disrepair there continues to be an undeniable attraction, fuelled by a certainty that impossible things do happen. 

Madeleine Mayo (b. 1981, London, Ontario, Canada) holds a BFA in Painting from OCADU (The Ontario College of Art and Design University) and is currently an MFA candidate at Concordia University. Mayo’s practice is situated at the interstices of painting and sculpture which employs figurative and abstract tropes as a vehicle to engage with the formal and effective experience of colour, mimetic representation, and of her own subjective relationship to these objects as manifestations of love and desire.

Mayo currently lives and works in Montreal. She was the recipient of Tom Hopkins Graduate Award in Painting & Drawing and the Dale and Nick Tedeschi Studio Arts Fellowship Graduate Awards. She has also taught both academic and studio courses at Concordia University.

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La Guaria Morada | Juan Ortiz-Apuy
to May 5

La Guaria Morada | Juan Ortiz-Apuy

  • TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary (map)
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Opening Reception // March 23 2018 at 7:00PM

In La Guaria Morada, tropical orchids, an ultrasonic industrial humidifier, and dehumidifiers are assembled to form an artificial environment in a perpetual state of negotiation and precarity. Centred around the national flower of Costa Rica, the installation serves as an homage to Ortiz-Apuy’s country of origin, and functions as a metaphor for situations caught in similarly uncertain and precarious conditions. La Guaria Morada is a fragile ecosystem. Dependent on the gallery’s lighting and staff to sustain it, the orchids parallel the art object, maintained via systems that aim to foster and nourish artistic practice, and to artist-run centres, equally requiring perpetual effort and negotiation in order to survive.

The creation of this work was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

The wall paint for this exhibition has been generously donated by Cloverdale Paint.

Juan Ortiz-Apuy’s La Guaria Morada (2018). Truck Gallery, Calgary

Essay by Tammer El-Sheikh

My partner’s mother Carol keeps 20 orchids in her Jimtown, Nova Scotia home. They’re potted with bark to keep the roots aerated, and placed in front of North-facing windows for cold snaps to set the bloom. With her sisters, Carol conspires to protect the orchids from critters, pets, and the moody Atlantic weather. The Los Angeles flower district occupies a few blocks along 7th St. Big orchid wholesalers share the area with a homeless population stretching south from Skid Row. Some 17,000 people live out of tents amidst the flower stocks. I haven’t found estimates of the orchid population there, but I like to think it’s around 17,000 – one per resident. 

To these images of beauty and vulnerability, add Juan Ortiz-Apuy’s La Guaria Morada. Orchid plants hang 56” off the ground, at the standard height for museum displays. They are spliced to hunks of bark and suspended by airplane wire against “evening blue” walls. Ortiz-Apuy is fond of factory paint names, and the atmospheres they evoke. But the plants are indoors, hidden away from the sky, like the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Evocation is slippery. These orchids are not Jimtown orchids, or Skid Row orchids, but they’re close. As the national flower, purple orchids enjoy great visibility in Costa Rica, but here they’re in hiding, or waiting, or triage. This is not their natural habitat, but it’s close. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers simulate a tropical garden in the wrong place and out of season. For Ortiz-Apuy, the plants are “hustling” in Calgary. 

They will grow slowly here, or one imagines - perpetually. Development in Costa Rica is a lot like this too - perpetual, precarious, and aimed at a curated beauty. Ortiz-Apuy moved from Costa Rica to Montreal in 2003 and has travelled back only twice since. After ten, nearly uninterrupted years away, he wished with this work to make a touristic homage to his country of origin. The view of La Guaria Morada is a visitor’s view, but collaged together, with conspicuous joints. In much of Ortiz-Apuy’s work, collage is a method. He keeps a meticulously indexed library of National Geographic issues and Ikea catalogues at the studio. La Guaria Morada mingles the visual languages of documentary photography and advertising, in its clinical arrangement of plants, and colour-coordinated humidifiers. Costa Rica is cast here as an idea, laid open to innocent curiosity and to consumer choice. 

La Guaria Morada’s elements function as interior signs of a partially-recalled tropical outside. But what of this outside, and of its history? Costa Rica is carefully arranged to show or conceal its cracks as needed. Roads through the Monteverde rainforest are deliberately left unmaintained by the parks service to sustain an air of wilderness for eco-tourists. Elsewhere, private resorts have displaced Indigenous and farming communities. Costa Rica’s recent economic history, or ‘development’ follows on decades of World Bank-mediated, US investment and meddling in the region to combat socialism, and extract fruit, rubber, and oil for international markets. La Guaria Morada’s delicate balance, between hung flowers, and the inputs and outputs of humming climate-control appliances is a striking metaphor for the phenomena of resource preservation and extraction in Latin America, and beyond in the Global South.   

Ortiz-Apuy’s sculptural language owes a debt to the readymade. In The Lovers: Hunter and Kenmore (2013), he joined a humidifier and dehumidifier at the lips, as it were, in a pose of absurd co-dependence. With this earlier work, Ortiz-Apuy rewrites the Dadaist’s script for the readymade as a cyborg romance in a department store. Through Ortiz-Apuy’s art we re-read the cool, spare industrial parts aesthetic of the readymade in relation to absented people. His response to Dada offers an abstracted social realism for our times, and for this place. Just as La Guaria Morada points outward to an increasingly uncertain planetary horizon, the work’s association of care, Sisyphean labour, and beauty is also site-specific, and in dialogue with the fragile ecosystem of artist-run culture. In all this, Ortiz-Apuy encourages us to pause on the repeated coupling of beauty and vulnerability, from Monteverde, to Jimtown and LA, to Truck’s temporary home for a few purple orchids.  

Tammer El-Sheikh is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia. He received his PhD from McGill University in 2013 for his work on the reception of Palestinian-American literary critic Edward Said within the discipline of Art History. Since then, his teaching and writing have focused on contemporary art and identity politics. His scholarly writing has appeared in the periodicals ARTMargins and Arab Studies Journal, and most recently in the anthology edited by Martha Langford and titled Narratives Unfolding: National Art Histories in an Unfinished World (MQUP, 2017). His art criticism has appeared in Canadian Art, Parachute, C Magazine and ETC Magazine. He is the Montreal correspondent for Akimbo

Juan Ortiz-Apuy was born in Costa Rica in 1980. He has lived and worked in Montreal since 2003. Ortiz-Apuy holds a BFA from Concordia University (2008), a Postgraduate Diploma from The Glasgow School of Art (2009), and an MFA from NSCAD University (2011). His work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally. Recent exhibitions include Museum London, Gallery 44, Gallery TWP, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, The MacLaren Arts Centre, A Space Gallery, and the Quebec City Biennial: Manif d'art 7. His work has been reviewed in various publications including Canadian ArtLe Devoir [Montreal], The Gazette [Montreal], The Telegram [St. John's], The Toronto Star, and MOMUS. Ortiz-Apuy has recently completed Artist-in-Residency programs at The Atlantic Centre for the Arts (USA), The Vermont Studio Center (USA), and The Frans Masereel Centre (Belgium). Upcoming projects include a residency at the IKEA Museum (Sweden), as well as exhibitions at Les Abattoirs Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (France), and Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa). 

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